The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the last general elections, Atiku Abubakar, provided huge financial support to the Kogi State governorship candidate of the party, Dino Melaye, but the efforts did not pay off, top party said on Thursday.
It will be recalled that in August 2022, Atiku appointed Melaye as a spokesperson for his presidential campaign ahead of the 2023 general elections – making the duo closer politically.
It was learnt that Atiku who was allegedly involved in how Melaye got the party's governorship ticket of the state mobilised financially to the tune of over N3billion to ensure the former senator would win the state governorship election.
“The senator (Melaye) released so much money for vote buying but he was defrauded across the state. Atiku rallied round him where over N3billion was raised for vote buying and he (Melaye) ended up in far 3rd position,” one of the sources revealed.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Usman Ododo, winner of the election after announcing that he polled a total of 446,237 votes, saying that it applied the “margin of lead principle” in announcing the winner.
According to INEC, Ododo's closest rival, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), polled a total of 259,052 votes while Melaye of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) scored a total of 46,362 votes – making him a distant third.
Melaye had called for the “immediate cancellation” of the gubernatorial election in the five local governments of Kogi Central.
The PDP candidate had identified the concerned local governments of Kogi Central as Okene, Okehi, Ajaoukuta, Adavi, and Ogori/Mangogo.
Ibom Focus earlier reported that Melaye was angry and had asked some party members in the state for a refund after he shared out N250,000 per polling unit in last Saturday's election, according to a breakdown.
It had confirmed that the breakdown of the PDP election expenses in the state showed that N87million was budgeted for “voter's mobilisation” – a subtle name for vote-buying while N10,000 and N5000 were also voted for each Polling Officer and Assistant Polling Officer respectively in the election.
Top sources said on Thursday that Melaye's anger was partly because he claimed he was defrauded by a PDP Local Government Chairman, his campaign Director-General among others who failed to “deliver” the election for him.
“Senator Dino Melaye released N250,000 per polling unit for vote buying and he was defrauded by the Local Government chairman of PDP, his campaign DG and others.
“The money was shared for 14 people who gathered in Iyale at Hon Tom Zekeri house,” one of the authoritative sources had said.
“He released N3,510,000 for thugs per polling unit in the name of local security; the money was diverted by a local government chairman of the party called Alhaji Hussini Ejini. The senator is angry and asking for refund.”